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Great Britain, with its constant winds, and shallow seas is one of the best locations in the world for offshore wind turbines. Last week David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, officially opened the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, based in the Thames Estuary, but not satisfied with that record breaking facility the government has just approved planning consent for an even larger offshore wind farm.
Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced that the Triton Knoll wind farm, to be developed around 20 miles off the North Norfolk and Lincolnshire coastline, has permission to erect 288 offshore turbines, giving it a generating capacity of 1.2GW, and making it the largest in the world.
Davey said that “the investments by Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm Limited and Vattenfall (set to begin construction soon on a 76 turbine farm in South Wales) are testament to the power of inward investment in the UK. These two projects will attract billions in investment into the UK, support hundreds of skilled green jobs in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and in the county boroughs of Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf whilst providing homes with clean energy.”
Related article: Future of UK Offshore Wind Sector in Jeopardy
RWE npower, the developer of the Triton Knoll project, has said that the installation could attract as much as £3.6 billion investment, and create 500 jobs during construction, with 325 permanent jobs later to operate the facility.
Davey argues that these investments are proof that the government’s electricity market reforms, and Energy Bill drafts, are encouraging new clean energy investment. “We have provided certainty early to onshore and offshore wind investors and now see significant investment decisions being made that will benefit the UK's economy for years to come.”
However, Jacob Hain, Triton Knoll Project Manager, has stated that RWE npower will not make any final investment decisions until the government’s Energy Bill and electricity market reforms are complete and official.
“In order to realise these ambitious offshore projects, the Government's Electricity Market Reform must deliver a regulatory framework which is bankable to attract the required levels of investment,” he said.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com